Tag Archives: kids

Happy Victoria Day! But, why?


Happy Victoria Day!

Do you know why we celebrate “Victoria Day” or the “May 24 long weekend” here in Canada?  If not, then find comfort in the fact that you are not alone.

Tonight at dinner our kids asked us why we celebrate Victoria Day.

I took a shot and replied, “We celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday.”

My wife looked over at me with that look on her face trying to determine if I was correct or feeding the kids a line of B.S.

I nodded that this was correct, and I continued to fill my kids brains full of fun facts about Victoria Day, Canada’s oldest state holiday dating back to 1845, in which Canadians celebrate Queen Victoria’s birthday.

“Why Queen Victoria and not Queen Elizabeth?” who is our current Queen, was the next question.

Well, Queen Victoria was Canada’s sovereign at the time of Confederation all the way back in 1867.  In fact, the Fathers of Confederation would not have been able to create this new country without her royal assent.

Fairly significant, one would agree.

Queen Victoria is also credited with selecting Ottawa to be Canada’s capital, based on its location on the border of English-speaking Canada and French-speaking Canada and being far from the US border better protected in case the US attacked.

Queen Victoria died in 1901 and the Federal government make Victoria Day a National holiday to be observed on May 24th each year (unless the 24th was a Sunday, then the holiday would be observed on a Monday).  In fact, in 1952, the parliament changed the holiday to be the Monday before May 24th which is why in some years it is very early (like this year).

“So why do we not celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s birthday?”

Well, we do!  Since 1953, Victoria Day has been recognized as the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II in Canada. (In England, it’s celebrated in June, even though she was actually born in April.)  Scotland also celebrates Victoria Day on the Monday before May 24th as well.

I also explained that Victoria Day also represents the day to begin planting vegetables and into the garden as the last frost occurs in early May.  It’s also the time of year that people head out to open cottages, and enjoy the outdoors.

Victoria Day has come to represent the start of summer, the opening of the garden and eating dinners outdoors.  How fireworks tie into this is a whole other story!

#Don’tDrink&Drive #WearLifeJacket #StaySafe

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Thursday Thirteen: 13 Daily Questions!


Ahhh, kids!

My kids went through a phase where they would yell, “DAILY QUESTION!” and then ask a question out loud and if it was guessed correctly, they would offer a sum of money.  It’s pretty much the same premise and Stu Jeffries Thousand Dollar Minute from Boom 97.3FM, which we listen to each and every morning and the kids have tried calling in to.

In honour of my kids constant quest for knowledge, I had them help me compile their own Thursday Thirteen version of “Daily Question” with 13 questions they thought would challenge anyone who dared to take on the quiz!

See how you do!

 

  1. Name one of NASA’s Space Shuttles

  2. What City is the Eiffel Tower in?

11.  What is another way to write half-past ten

10.  What is the longest river in the world?

9.   What did Alexander Graham Bell invent?

8.   What is the square root of 121?

7.   What was the name of the show featuring Jessie, DJ, Joey and an annoying neighbour named Kimmy Gibbler?

6.   Name the 2 hockey teams which failed in Atlanta, Georgia?

5.   What is older?  Betty White or the invention of the refrigerator?

4.  5 multiplied by 3, take away 7, all squared equals?

3.   What is the name of the character in the cartoon “Peanuts” who carries a blanket, sucks his thumb and is really smart?

2.   What does “M.A.S.H” stand for from the classic TV show of the same name?

1.   The Toronto Raptors are in the NBA playoffs again this year (YAY!).  Their slogan is “We The North”.  Which other US cities which have basketball teams are further north than Toronto?

Hint: There are 3

How did you do?

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May The Fourth Be With You! May the 4th be with you! Star Wars Day 2015.


It doesn’t matter how you like to spell it, or whether you only say it to family and friends or write it on a cheque as I did this afternoon, but today is May the 4th, and I wish all my readers the same greeting today, “May the 4th be with you!”

In light of the upcoming Star Wars movies which appear to be a bit darker, slicker and with less animation and more actual robots, I have already found a lot more activity today on the Internet, in my Facebook feed and in the secret groups that I visit but am never allowed to talk about.

It’s been such a great day thus far – and yes, the force IS with me today – that I took my Jedi mind tricks with me to my kids school where I was the “celebrity” reader today.  (It’s called that, not just for an appearance by The Urban Daddy).

I read the kids a bit from a wonderful book called “Vader’s Little Princess” by Jeffrey Brown, and from “Kids are Weird”, also by Jeffrey Brown.  They were given to me for Father’s Day last year by the amazing folks at Indigo Books @chaptersindigo.

I picked the age appropriate pieces mainly from “Vader’s Little Princess” and with some cool voices and a lot of improvising, I entertained a class of SK’s for 20-25 minutes.

I ended by reminding the kids that Darth Vader is evil, because he hates and that they need to be nice to everyone, especially their teachers, parents and classmates, and that they need to be good to the planet, eat healthy food, exercise and say please and thank you.

I ended by saying; “The Force strong in you is it. Good you shall be. Nice you are.  Force be with you today it is, hmmph.”

The kids said I nailed my Yoda impression, but I felt it sounded like Cookie Monster.

Happy Star Wars Day Everyone!

May the 4th (Force) be with you!

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SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium in Auburn Hills, Michigan is open! Perfect for a Road Trip, eh?


Always looking for something new, fun and exciting to do with the kids on weekends and during the summer, I was tipped off about the recent opening of the SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium in Auburn Hills, Mich., which happens to be a short drive from the Canadian border here in Ontario.

Having travelled to Rochester, New York to take the kids to their awesome Science Centre, Play Museum and Planetarium, the SEA LIFE Aquarium can be added to the list!

This new facility opened January 2015 and is beginning to ramp up for the spring and summer seasons, providing a great option for Canadian families to go for a road trip or weekend away.

Detroit Aquarium Ocean tank 1 Detroit Aquarium Touchpool2

NEWS RELEASE

Experience an array of exotic sea life at SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

Michigan’s brand new aquarium will transport you into an enchanting underwater world, bringing you nose to nose with sharks and igniting your passion for the sea.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., April, 2015 – SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, the 35,000-square-foot aquatic attraction at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, officially opened its doors to the public this past January, offering up close and personal experiences with sea creatures to visitors from across North America.

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium takes guests on an awe-inspiring, educational journey through an amazing underwater world featuring more than 5,000 incredible creatures such as sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, eels, sea horses, tropical fish, a Giant Pacific Octopus and fish native to the Great Lakes and surrounding waterways. Guests have the unique opportunity to get nose-to-nose with these creatures in interactive, engaging exhibits, including a dazzling 180-degree ocean tunnel, and a hands-on touch pool.

“Just a short drive from the Canadian border, our location at the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets makes for the perfect family day trip,” says Debbie Gibb, SEA LIFE Michigan’s Marketing Manager. “Our state-of-the-art aquarium can be enjoyed by everyone – from a family trip, to a fun date night idea – and with our emphasis on fun education, when you visit SEA LIFE not only will you learn something new, but you may also be inspired to support our worldwide conservation efforts.”

Enjoy the beauty of the ocean and its creatures by holding a crab or touching a sea star at the interactive touch pool, watching the fun talks and feeding shows throughout the day, and taking in the experience of watching more than 5,000 sea creatures throughout the attraction.

Located 45 minutes from the Canadian border, the brand new SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium is also open for school and group tours seven days a week and birthday parties on weekends.

Annual passes and regular tickets are available online at www.visitsealife.com/michigan/buy-tickets.   Children under the age of three-years-old are always free.

About SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium is a 35,000-square-foot aquarium in Auburn Hills, Mich. based Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. As the 7th SEA LIFE location in the United States, and the 42nd in the world, SEA LIFE Michigan features engaging, educational and one-of-a-kind experiences that bring guests nose-to-nose with more than 5,000 amazing creatures, including sharks, stingrays, jellyfish, sea horses and much, much more. SEALIFE provides a glimpse of the diversity of marine life while also playing an active role in animal and environmental conservation. Visitors will see strong evidence of SEA LIFE’s Breed, Rescue and Protect activities around the world, including new projects developed locally.

For more information, visit www.visitsealife.com/michigan.

 

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Apparently I Neglected To Educate My Children About St. Patrick’s Day!


Happy St. Patrick’s Day!St Patricks Day

I have never tried McDonald’s Shamrock shake probably because I keep hearing it might taste a little like cough syrup, or something like that.

I realized this morning while listening to ” Stu Jeffries $1000 Dollar Minute” on Boom 97.3FM that today was March 17th and that means St. Patrick’s Day!  All the questions were St. Patrick’s Day related and my kids looked at me quite perplexed as the quiz went on, because I think they knew the “Lucky Charms” question and that was it.

“Today is St. Patrick’s Day!” I proclaimed.

“Yeah?”

“So?”

“What does that mean?”, were the responses.

Oops.  I thought as I realized that we’ve really never spoken about St. Patrick’s Day – at least not recently – and when we reconvened at dinner time I had better have an explanation more significant that my note about the Shamrock shake.

So here, is the “Coles Notes” version of why St. Patrick’s Day matters and why we celebrate it, with some fun facts thrown in for the curious kids:

 

  • St. Patrick’s Day is an annual feast day celebrating the patron saint Patrick for whom the day is named after.
  • Saint Patrick was not born Irish, but became an integral part of the Irish heritage through his service across Ireland of the 5th century.
  • Patrick was either Scottish or English, his real name was though to be Maewyn Succat and Patricius was his Romanicized name until it became Patrick.
  • St. Patrick’s Day is the national holiday of Ireland.
  • On the religious side, St. Patrick, is credited with bringing Christianity to the Irish people.
  • Many believe St. Patrick drove all the snakes out of Ireland, but truth be told, Ireland never actually had snakes, and many now believe that “snakes” actually represented the serpent symbolism of the Druids of that time and place.
  • Many, many people – Irish or not – wear the colour green today.
  • An interesting Irish tradition which I chose to mention after your day at school has finished, is to pinch anyone who is not wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day.
  • St. Patrick’s Day was first observed in Boston by Irish immigrants in 1737.  I believe the Chicago river is turned green today by a dye which lasts 2-4 days.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the US was held in New York, of course, in 1766.  The Toronto St. Patrick’s Day parade was held on Sunday March 15th.
  • The common symbols of St. Patrick’s Day are the shamrock, pot-of-gold andleprechans.
    • Three is Ireland’s magic number and the three petals that make up the shamrock are supposed to bring good luck.
    • The three leaves also represent the Trinity in the Christian religion.
    • The leprechaun is a small Irish fairy who is dressed like a shoemaker, with pointed shoes and hat and he wears a leather apron.
    • Leprechauns are supposed to be unfriendly little men who lives alone in the forest, spending all of their time making shoes and guarding their treasures.
    • If someone catches a leprechaun, he will be forced to tell where he hides all his pots of gold. However, the leprechaun must be watched at all times. If his captor looks away, the leprechaun will vanish along with his treasure.
  • Envy, while green, is not welcomed on St. Paddy’s Day.
  • Today is the only day that I willingly change my last name, “Orlans” to “O’lans”.
  • Tonight we’re going to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day not by drinking green beer, or by wearing green PJ’s but by eating all of our green veggies!  Yum.
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